Alternative Treatments For Male Fertility
Most infertile couples ache to hold a baby in their arms. Their desire to conceive may seem almost overwhelming at times. Because of these strong feelings, a couple won't even blink an eye at the opportunity to try a new treatment for male factor infertility, no matter how outlandish it may seem.
But while technology has come a long way, the fancy new treatments are expensive. A couple may give IVF or other treatments a few tries and then throw up their hands: it's too pricey to try again. That leaves a couple back to where they started: infertile and childless. The difference is they no longer have as much hope that they will manage to have a baby.
A couple may take a break from trying to conceive (TTC) for a short time to lick their wounds. Then they may read something about alternative treatments and figure they've got nothing left to lose, they might as well try some of these natural remedies. Some couples prefer a natural method of treatment to begin with, since they feel that natural treatments are more in tune with the human body. But evidence on the efficacy and safety of these treatments is scanty so be cautious.
In one study, infertile men were treated with a combined protocol of acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine. It was found that their sperm motility increased.
A study on treatments for low sperm counts found that vitamin E raised the rates of fertilization while the placebo did not. Meantime, data from other studies contradicts these findings. For instance, there was a study in which men were given vitamin E along with either selenium or vitamin C. There was no apparent effect of these treatments on the subjects' fertility.
There have been studies showing that coenzyme Q10 and folic acid may improve both sperm count and motility, while other trials produced less positive results. Right now, the data is too diffuse to be dependable one way or the other. More research needs to be done on this track. In the meantime, we just don't know if folic acid and coenzyme Q10 work or how well they work if they are effective.
It is encouraging for those couples with male factor infertility that the majority of studies on such supplements show they have a somewhat positive effect on male potency, since alternative treatments for female infertility have not shown as much promise. But to sum up, there's just no proof that any nutritional supplements or herbal remedies can improve the fertility of either gender.
Right now, it's difficult to say how these remedies will interact with traditional medications or whether they are effective, ineffective, or detrimental. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only in recent years taken the reigns for overseeing these alternative nutritional and herbal supplements. This will lead to more rigorous testing and regulation of these remedies which is probably a good thing.